‘I Don’t Like it’ – Jesse Palmer Gives Strong Take on Conference Realignment

Jesse Palmer has witnessed a much different college football landscape from his Gainesville days. And the Florida Gators legend gave his strong take to CFN.

Jesse Palmer played in a college football era where the word “conference realignment” wasn’t in any coach’s or program’s vocabulary. My, how times have changed since Palmer’s last college game in 2000 with the Florida Gators.

He spoke with College Football Network about his take on the “c” and “r” words intertwined together.

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Jesse Palmer Shares What’s Lost in Realignment Cycle

While Palmer continues his affinity for college football, he bluntly states his take on this era of college football.

“As a purist of the sport and as a traditionalist, I don’t like it,” Palmer told CFN. “And I talked about it before – it’s the tradition and the rivalry games that are part of making it so great. And we’re losing that with realignment.”

MORE: Current Conference Realignment

During the first realignment cycle, notable rivalries that went lost were Texas versus Texas A&M in the Lone Star Showdown, Pittsburgh vs. West Virginia in the Backyard Brawl, and Missouri vs. Kansas in the Border War, among others.

Now, the newest cycle will threaten the end of Stanford vs. USC, the Apple Cup rivalry between Washington vs. Washington State, and even more.

The Part Palmer “Understands” About Realignment

College football, even in the Southeastern Conference, wasn’t the money-making model that it is now during Palmer’s playing days.

But with the CFB world now revolving around the dollar, Palmer understands the direction college football is heading.

“This is a completely different landscape today than the one I played in during the late 90s or when I started covering the sport with ESPN in 2007,” Palmer said. “It’s about money, revenue, TV contracts, and it’s about distributing that to members of the conference. It’s created a divide between the SEC, Big Ten, and other schools.”

“It’s only going to get bigger as it keeps going.”

But there’s more that’s fueling the financial aspect for CFB.

“NIL (name image and likeness) money has now changed the game for recruiting. And the transfer portal has changed the game for rosters and coaches who not only have to recruit talent, but re-recruit their own players every offseason.”

And while Palmer isn’t a fan of this current state of collegiate sports, he knows there’s no stopping the realignment.

“The game is changing. We’re going into an expansion; it’s just the way the direction is moving, and it’s not going to stop,” Palmer said. “But as a traditionalist, losing the rivalry games will hurt the most.”

Palmer Joining in on Fan Out Loud Fun

While Palmer doesn’t give a ringing endorsement for realignment, he will give a ringing one for his alma mater on Friday.

The reason?

The veteran CFB analyst for ESPN and television personality will join in on “Fan Out Loud” by taking part in College Colors Day.

“So College Colors Day essentially sets the tone for college football fans out there to show off their school colors, team pride and to fan out loud,” Palmer says of the social media trend he will take part in.

And how will he take part? By putting on his school colors from his Gainesville days.

“I’m rocking the Orange and Blue; it runs in my veins, and I’m sharing it on social media,” Palmer says.

Palmer encouraged CFB fans everywhere to support their team ahead of Friday.

More information on College Colors Day can be found here. Palmer already got a head start by doing the “Gator Chomp” on his Instagram page.